Excitement builds for closest Extreme E season yet

Building on the success of its first two campaigns, Extreme E Season 3 promises to be the most action-packed yet. Double the races and new driver line-ups have set the stage for the tightest championship battle so far.

Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing will defend their Season 2 crown, with last year’s runners-up Rosberg X Racing (RXR) looking to reclaim the championship they won in 2021.

The new campaign also marks the return of Mattias Ekström and Christine GZ alongside debuts for Heikki Kovalainen, Amanda Sorensen and legendary DJ Carl Cox’s eponymous team.

The Season 3 opener sees Extreme E return to the familiar grounds of NEOM, Saudi Arabia, this weekend (11-12 March), only this time in a slightly new location. While teams will once again face a mostly sandy terrain, the 2023 Desert X Prix will pose a new challenge set on the shores of the Red Sea.

NEOM is the centrepiece of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan to grow and diversify the Saudi economy and position the country as a leader in global sustainable development.

Built from the ground up, NEOM will be a new model for liveability in the face of climate change, creating thriving businesses and reinventing environmental conservation. This will include the world’s first large-scale renewable energy system, pioneering the use of green hydrogen, as well as a world hub for clean energy generation research and innovation.

Beyond being a hub for sustainability, entrepreneurs and business leaders, NEOM is also set to be the home of adventure sports – creating active communities and a host destination for dynamic and challenging sports - Extreme E being among the first.

The opening round Extreme E Season 3 will take place on the shores of the Red Sea close to the location of the 2022 NEOM Beach Games, which hosted over 300 athletes from 25 countries.

The change of scene brings a new challenge for the twenty world-class drivers, ensuring that they will have to be at the top of their game to claim podium positions.

Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “We cannot wait for the third season of Extreme E to begin in NEOM next week.

“Our first two campaigns have been a huge success and this season promises to be the most competitive and closely fought season yet.

“We are going to have some spectacular racing, and to now have a ten-race championship in Extreme E is a tantalising prospect for everyone on board.

We believe the increased number of races will only enhance our series, starting with the Desert X Prix.”

Championship winners X44 Vida Carbon Racing will return in Season 3 to defend their maiden title, after clinching the victory in Uruguay last November. The team will be fighting for back-to-back titles with Cristina Gutiérrez and new recruit Fraser McConnell, with Sebastien Loeb leaving the team.

The Natural Energy X Prix Final went down to the wire, with Lewis Hamilton’s outfit securing championship glory, finishing third in the Final by just half a second.

This sets the tone for a close and competitive campaign this year, which can only be made more exciting by the introduction of a new sporting format.

New Sporting Format

Season 3 will see the calendar double from five to ten rounds, with all race weekends serving as double-headers - showcasing twice the action for minimal additional carbon output.

The new doubleheader format will run as follows:

  • Qualifying 1 and Qualifying 2 will both consist of two heats, five cars each. This means four wheel-to-wheel races will determine who comes out on top.
  • Intermediate Classification Points are awarded for Q1 and Q2, with a single championship point awarded to the winners of each Heat – something that could prove crucial in the closing stages of the season.
  • This will be followed by the Grand Final, starring the top five teams from Qualifying, with the winner taking the top step of the podium.
  • The remaining five teams will battle it out in Redemption Race, where all important championship points are still at stake. 

The above format will take place on both Saturday and Sunday, meaning two winners will be crowned at each race weekend. It promises to deliver some breath-taking competition, with double the opportunity for wins, podiums, and crucial points across the ten-race calendar, raising the stakes to a whole new level.


Qualifying 1 Heat 1: 5 cars with a switch halfway

Qualifying 1 Heat 2: 5 cars with a switch halfway

Intermediate Classification points are awarded in the Qualifying 1, Heats 1 and 2, on the following basis:

1st            10 points + 1 championship point

2nd            8 points

3rd             6 points

4th             4 points

5th             2 points

Starting positions for Qualifying 1 allocated through a lottery

Qualifying 2 Heat 1: 5 cars with a switch halfway

Qualifying 2 Heat 2: 5 cars with a switch halfway

Starting positions for Qualifying 2 determined by finishing order of the Heats in Qualifying Round 1

Intermediate Classification points are awarded in the Qualifying 2, Heats 1 and 2, on the following basis:

1st            10 points + 1 championship point

2nd            8 points

3rd             6 points

4th             4 points

5th             2 points


The combined points for each team from Qualifying Rounds 1 and 2 will determine the overall classification at the end of Qualifying for final positions as follows:

Top 5 – Grand Final

Bottom 5 – Redemption Race

In the event of the same points being achieved after Qualifying Rounds 1 and 2, the Team with the fastest Continental Traction Challenge time of the Qualifying Rounds shall be deemed to be the quicker.

Championship Points

1st: 25 points (Winner of Grand Final)

2nd: 18 points (2nd in GF)

3rd: 15 points (3rd in GF)

4th: 12 points (4th in GF))

5th: 10 points (5th in GF)

6th: 8 points (Winner of Redemption Race)

7th: 6 points (2nd in RR)

8th: 4 points (3rd in RR)

9th: 2 points (4th in RR)

10th: 1 point (5th in RR)

Continental Traction Challenge

Still playing a crucial role in the championship fight is the Continental Traction Challenge. The team that sets the fastest time through the allocated sector will win the Continental Traction Challenge and now earn two championship points. This will run for each of the individual race days on Saturday and Sunday.

A team’s Traction Challenge time will be the combination of both the male and female drivers’ fastest time through the allocated sector over the course of a race day as part of the series’ continued ambitions around equality.


With the renewed and intense competition ahead, GridPlay will be crucial at the NEOM Desert X Prix.

GridPlay returns in Season 3, with grid positions for the Grand Final determined through the fan voting process. The teams that do not make it to The Grand Final must ‘gift’ their votes to their preferred team on The Grand Final grid. Grid position for the Redemption Race will be defined by the Intermediate Classification results, with the team that finished 6th choosing grid position first, followed by the team that finished 7th, and so on.

Driver Line-Ups

The 10 teams and 20 drivers for the 2023 Desert X Prix are as follows:

ABT CUPRA XE – Nasser Al-Attiyah / Klara Andersson
ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team – Mattias Ekström / Laia Sanz
Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E – Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings
Carl Cox Motorsport – Timo Scheider / Christine GZ
NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team – Tanner Foust / Emma Gilmour
No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing – RJ Anderson / Amanda Sorensen
JBXE – Heikki Kovalainen / Hedda Hosås
Rosberg X Racing – Johan Kristoffersson / Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky
Veloce Racing – Kevin Hansen / Molly Taylor
X44 Vida Carbon Racing – Fraser McConnell / Cristina Gutiérrez

Count Us In

Season 3 is set to launch a new strategy to engage fans and promote sustainability. This season, there will be a single call to action per race, making it a total of five easy-to-follow calls to action over the course of the year.

Fans visit the Extreme E - Count Us In website during the campaign period, take a pledge, and choose which team they support. The pledges will be counted in the form of a team leader board, and the winning team with the highest number of pledges taken by their fans will be announced at the end of the season.

The Extreme E Count Us In Challenge includes a variety of actions available to fans to contribute towards a greener future, including not using single-use plastic, walking and cycling more, eating more plant-based foods and driving an electric vehicle.

At the end of each race, the team with the most pledges will be awarded a digital award. At the last race in Chile, the Extreme E Sustainability Award will be given to the team with the highest number of pledges taken throughout the season. This new approach is expected to increase engagement among fans while promoting sustainability in motorsports.

Legacy Programme

Beyond the racing, the Desert X Prix will also host Extreme E’s first legacy programme of the campaign. On Thursday 9 March, just ahead of the Extreme E opening race weekend, race team personnel, including several of the drivers themselves, will travel to the NEOM Nature Reserve and assist in the release of Arabian Oryx, Red Neck ostriches and Arabian sand gazelle into the area.

This will be pivotal in rebuilding the areas ecosystem, reintroducing species that were originally prolific in these deserts, but have not roamed freely here for over a century. The project plans to have a long-term and revitalising impact on the 25,000 km2 Nature Reserve, helping to deliver the nature conservation of Vision 2030 and the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI). This will be complimented by Extreme E continuing to plant more trees in the region as part of its regreening initiative.  

With less than a week to go until the opening X Prix of the campaign, Extreme E Season 3 is all set to be another spectacular campaign.